Can I Change My Child’s Name?

If a parent or guardian is requesting that the Court change the name of a minor child over the objection of one or both parents, the Court must make that determination using the same standard that it uses to determine parental rights, which is the best interests standard.

This typically means that the petitioning parent or guardian must show by substantial and competent evidence that it is in the best interest of the child (necessary for the child’s welfare).

mere allegations or allegations of the parents wishes that the child carry on a name is insignificant to court and will not be enough to establish it is required for the court to change the name of the child to meet the child’s best interests.

For more information call for a free consultation. 239-208-2203.

The Law office of Mary A. Cosmo

www.attorneycosmo.com

Free Consultation and Payment Plans Accepted

239-208-2203

Office in Ft. Myers, Florida and Labelle, Florida

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. Outcome or results are not guaranteed. The information presented on this website is for advertising purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. An attorney-client relationship will not be established until we have confirmed our representation of your case in writing.

Does joint custody affect child support in Florida?

Yes. Child Support calculations use several factors, which include the combined income of both parties (minus tax deductions), the number of children the parties have together, child care and health insurance costs, and the amount of overnights you spend with your child(ren).

The premise is that if you are spending at least 50 percent of the over nights with your child, then you are spending your funds to care, house, cloth, and feed you child.

What if you do not get 50 percent of the overnights?
If you have your child at least 20 percent of the overnights, then you will get a reduction in the amount of child support based on the amount of overnights you actually care, house, cloth, and feed you child.

If you would like more information on child support and how it would be determined based on your individual situation, call my office and set an appointment for a free consultation. 239-208-2203.

Win! Dismissal in favor of my Client!

Dismissal

Can an out-of-state Court modify my child support?

Generally no, but there are a few exceptions.  Under the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (“FFCCSOA”), a state can only enforce and out-of-state Child Support Order and does not have Jurisdiction to modify such Orders unless neither the child nor either party is no longer a resident of the original state or the parties consent to the new jurisdiction.  U.S. Code §1738B; See Department of Revenue v. Skladanuk, 683 So. 2d 624, 625-626 (Fla. 2d DCA1996).

Parental relocation with a child, Florida Statute 61.13001 

home-moving-with-kids

61.13001 Parental relocation with a child.

(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Child” means any person who is under the jurisdiction of a state court pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act or is the subject of any order granting to a parent or other person any right to time-sharing, residential care, kinship, or custody, as provided under state law.
(b) “Court” means the circuit court in an original proceeding which has proper venue and jurisdiction in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the circuit court in the county in which either parent and the child reside, or the circuit court in which the original action was adjudicated.
(c) “Other person” means an individual who is not the parent, but with whom the child resides pursuant to court order, or who has the right of access to, time-sharing with, or visitation with the child.
(d) “Parent” means any person so named by court order or express written agreement who is subject to court enforcement or a person reflected as a parent on a birth certificate and who is entitled to access to or time-sharing with the child.
(e) “Relocation” means a change in the location of the principal residence of a parent or other person from his or her principal place of residence at the time of the last order establishing or modifying time-sharing, or at the time of filing the pending action to establish or modify time-sharing. The change of location must be at least 50 miles from that residence, and for at least 60 consecutive days not including a temporary absence from the principal residence for purposes of vacation, education, or the provision of health care for the child.Umzug
(2) RELOCATION BY AGREEMENT.

(a) If the parents and every other person entitled to access to or time-sharing with the child agree to the relocation of the child, they may satisfy the requirements of this section by signing a written agreement that:

1. Reflects consent to the relocation;
2. Defines an access or time-sharing schedule for the nonrelocating parent and any other persons who are entitled to access or time-sharing; and
3. Describes, if necessary, any transportation arrangements related to access or time-sharing.
(b) If there is an existing cause of action, judgment, or decree of record pertaining to the child’s residence or a time-sharing schedule, the parties shall seek ratification of the agreement by court order without the necessity of an evidentiary hearing unless a hearing is requested, in writing, by one or more of the parties to the agreement within 10 days after the date the agreement is filed with the court. If a hearing is not timely requested, it shall be presumed that the relocation is in the best interest of the child and the court may ratify the agreement without an evidentiary hearing.
(3) PETITION TO RELOCATE.Unless an agreement has been entered as described in subsection (2), a parent or other person seeking relocation must file a petition to relocate and serve it upon the other parent, and every other person entitled to access to or time-sharing with the child. The pleadings must be in accordance with this section:

(a) The petition to relocate must be signed under oath or affirmation under penalty of perjury and include:

1. A description of the location of the intended new residence, including the state, city, and specific physical address, if known.
2. The mailing address of the intended new residence, if not the same as the physical address, if known.
3. The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if known.
4. The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.
5. A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation. If one of the reasons is based upon a job offer that has been reduced to writing, the written job offer must be attached to the petition.
6. A proposal for the revised postrelocation schedule for access and time-sharing together with a proposal for the postrelocation transportation arrangements necessary to effectuate time-sharing with the child. Absent the existence of a current, valid order abating, terminating, or restricting access or time-sharing or other good cause predating the petition, failure to comply with this provision renders the petition to relocate legally insufficient.
7. Substantially the following statement, in all capital letters and in the same size type, or larger, as the type in the remainder of the petition:

A RESPONSE TO THE PETITION OBJECTING TO RELOCATION MUST BE MADE IN WRITING, FILED WITH THE COURT, AND SERVED ON THE PARENT OR OTHER PERSON SEEKING TO RELOCATE WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER SERVICE OF THIS PETITION TO RELOCATE. IF YOU FAIL TO TIMELY OBJECT TO THE RELOCATION, THE RELOCATION WILL BE ALLOWED, UNLESS IT IS NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD, WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE AND WITHOUT A HEARING.

(b) The petition to relocate must be served on the other parent and on every other person entitled to access to and time-sharing with the child. If there is a pending court action regarding the child, service of process may be according to court rule. Otherwise, service of process shall be according to chapters 48 and 49 or via certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested.
(c) A parent or other person seeking to relocate has a continuing duty to provide current and updated information required by this section when that information becomes known.
(d) If the other parent and any other person entitled to access to or time-sharing with the child fails to timely file a response objecting to the petition to relocate, it is presumed that the relocation is in the best interest of the child and that the relocation should be allowed, and the court shall, absent good cause, enter an order specifying that the order is entered as a result of the failure to respond to the petition and adopting the access and time-sharing schedule and transportation arrangements contained in the petition. The order may be issued in an expedited manner without the necessity of an evidentiary hearing. If a response is timely filed, the parent or other person may not relocate, and must proceed to a temporary hearing or trial and obtain court permission to relocate.
(e) Relocating the child without complying with the requirements of this subsection subjects the party in violation to contempt and other proceedings to compel the return of the child and may be taken into account by the court in any initial or postjudgment action seeking a determination or modification of the parenting plan or the access or time-sharing schedule as:

1. A factor in making a determination regarding the relocation of a child.
2. A factor in determining whether the parenting plan or the access or time-sharing schedule should be modified.
3. A basis for ordering the temporary or permanent return of the child.
4. Sufficient cause to order the parent or other person seeking to relocate the child to pay reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees incurred by the party objecting to the relocation.
5. Sufficient cause for the award of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, including interim travel expenses incident to access or time-sharing or securing the return of the child.
(4) APPLICABILITY OF PUBLIC RECORDS LAW.If the parent or other person seeking to relocate a child, or the child, is entitled to prevent disclosure of location information under a public records exemption, the court may enter any order necessary to modify the disclosure requirements of this section in compliance with the public records exemption.
(5) OBJECTION TO RELOCATION.An answer objecting to a proposed relocation must be verified and include the specific factual basis supporting the reasons for seeking a prohibition of the relocation, including a statement of the amount of participation or involvement the objecting party currently has or has had in the life of the child.
(6) TEMPORARY ORDER.

(a) The court may grant a temporary order restraining the relocation of a child, order the return of the child, if a relocation has previously taken place, or order other appropriate remedial relief, if the court finds:

1. That the petition to relocate does not comply with subsection (3);
2. That the child has been relocated without a written agreement of the parties or without court approval; or
3. From an examination of the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing that there is a likelihood that upon final hearing the court will not approve the relocation of the child.
(b) The court may grant a temporary order permitting the relocation of the child pending final hearing, if the court finds:

1. That the petition to relocate was properly filed and is otherwise in compliance with subsection (3); and
2. From an examination of the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing, that there is a likelihood that on final hearing the court will approve the relocation of the child, which findings must be supported by the same factual basis as would be necessary to support approving the relocation in a final judgment.
(c) If the court has issued a temporary order authorizing a party seeking to relocate or move a child before a final judgment is rendered, the court may not give any weight to the temporary relocation as a factor in reaching its final decision.
(d) If temporary relocation of a child is approved, the court may require the person relocating the child to provide reasonable security, financial or otherwise, and guarantee that the court-ordered contact with the child will not be interrupted or interfered with by the relocating party.
(7) NO PRESUMPTION; FACTORS TO DETERMINE CONTESTED RELOCATION.A presumption in favor of or against a request to relocate with the child does not arise if a parent or other person seeks to relocate and the move will materially affect the current schedule of contact, access, and time-sharing with the nonrelocating parent or other person. In reaching its decision regarding a proposed temporary or permanent relocation, the court shall evaluate all of the following:

(a) The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent or other person proposing to relocate with the child and with the nonrelocating parent, other persons, siblings, half-siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life.
(b) The age and developmental stage of the child, the needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.
(c) The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating parent or other person and the child through substitute arrangements that take into consideration the logistics of contact, access, and time-sharing, as well as the financial circumstances of the parties; whether those factors are sufficient to foster a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the nonrelocating parent or other person; and the likelihood of compliance with the substitute arrangements by the relocating parent or other person once he or she is out of the jurisdiction of the court.
(d) The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.
(e) Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent or other person seeking the relocation and the child, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunities.
(f) The reasons each parent or other person is seeking or opposing the relocation.
(g) The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent or other person and whether the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the parent or other person seeking relocation of the child.
(h) That the relocation is sought in good faith and the extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his or her financial obligations to the parent or other person seeking relocation, including child support, spousal support, and marital property and marital debt obligations.
(i) The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent or other person if the relocation occurs.
(j) A history of substance abuse or domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28 or which meets the criteria of s. 39.806(1)(d) by either parent, including a consideration of the severity of such conduct and the failure or success of any attempts at rehabilitation.
(k) Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child or as set forth in s. 61.13.
(8) BURDEN OF PROOF.The parent or other person wishing to relocate has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that relocation is in the best interest of the child. If that burden of proof is met, the burden shifts to the nonrelocating parent or other person to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child.
(9) ORDER REGARDING RELOCATION.If relocation is approved:

(a) The court may, in its discretion, order contact with the nonrelocating parent or other person, including access, time-sharing, telephone, Internet, webcam, and other arrangements sufficient to ensure that the child has frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with the nonrelocating parent or other person, if contact is financially affordable and in the best interest of the child.
(b) If applicable, the court shall specify how the transportation costs are to be allocated between the parents and other persons entitled to contact, access, and time-sharing and may adjust the child support award, as appropriate, considering the costs of transportation and the respective net incomes of the parents in accordance with the state child support guidelines schedule.
(10) PRIORITY FOR HEARING OR TRIAL.An evidentiary hearing or nonjury trial on a pleading seeking temporary or permanent relief filed under this section shall be accorded priority on the court’s calendar. If a motion seeking a temporary relocation is filed, absent good cause, the hearing must occur no later than 30 days after the motion for a temporary relocation is filed. If a notice to set the matter for a nonjury trial is filed, absent good cause, the nonjury trial must occur no later than 90 days after the notice is filed.
(11) APPLICABILITY.gavel.jpg

(a) This section applies:

1. To orders entered before October 1, 2009, if the existing order defining custody, primary residence, the parenting plan, time-sharing, or access to or with the child does not expressly govern the relocation of the child.
2. To an order, whether temporary or permanent, regarding the parenting plan, custody, primary residence, time-sharing, or access to the child entered on or after October 1, 2009.
3. To any relocation or proposed relocation, whether permanent or temporary, of a child during any proceeding pending on October 1, 2009, wherein the parenting plan, custody, primary residence, time-sharing, or access to the child is an issue.
(b) To the extent that a provision of this section conflicts with an order existing on October 1, 2009, this section does not apply to the terms of that order which expressly govern relocation of the child or a change in the principal residence address of a parent or other person.
History.s. 2, ch. 2006-245; s. 9, ch. 2008-61; s. 5, ch. 2009-21; s. 4, ch. 2009-180.

The Department of Revenue, Child Support, and YOU.

child-support

If the Department of Revenue has sent you a Notice that they are initiating a Child Support Administrative case on behalf of your child, YOU MUST NOT SIT BACK AND WAIT. Make sure you fill out any forms and/or answer any questions that they ask. If you simply fail to reply they will initiate the action, establish support based on whatever information they have (and/or information provided by your ex), and garnish your wages.

You can also file a Petition in Circuit Court and put the Department on Notice that you have initiated a Circuit Court Case to establish Child Support. “[I]f the parent from whom support is being sought files an action in circuit court and serves the department with a copy of the petition within 20 days after being served notice under this subsection, the administrative process ends without prejudice and the action must proceed in circuit court.” Fl. Stat. 409.2563(2)(n).

If it is too late, and you failed to answer or reply to any Department actions and your wages are already being garnished, NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT! Do not wait! The Department’s Administrative Order will continue to be enforced until a Circuit Court enters a Superseding Order. The longer you wait to take action, the more your arrears will continue to add up. Don’t wait, call me today. I can help.

Child Support is based on the Statutory Guidelines set by the Florida legislature based on both parent’s combined monthly income. The Dept. of Revenue can only establish support based on these guidelines and does not have any jurisdiction to establish paternity (it contested), timesharing, custody, or parental responsibilities. However, the Circuit Court has the jurisdiction to establish paternity, timesharing, parental responsibilities as well as base your child support on the timesharing schedule. When you participate in your child’s life through timesharing at least 20% of the time then you may be entitled to a reduction in support based on the amount of timesharing you enjoy.

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Can I Amend (fix) my Petition or Complaint?

mistake

Question: Oh NO!  I failed to allege a fact or request a specific result in my Petition, can I fix it after it is filed???

Short Answer: Maybe.

If you made a mistake or did not fill out your Complaint or Petition correctly, you may be able to fix it before it is too late.  For example, in certain instances you are required to plead (make a statement in your initial Complaint or Petition) certain allegations if you want a specific result.  If you are unsure of the result you want, you may not get the result you need if it was never pled (alleged) in your Complaint or Petition.  The good news is, if you have already filed a Petition or Complaint, the Court may allow you to amend your Complaint or Petition.  Depending on when you have filed, if there has been an Answer filed, or if your matter is set for a trial.  The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 1.190 (a) is the Rule that allows for Amendments.

Longer Answer:  The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 1.190 (a) governs Amending your Complaint or Petition.

“A party may amend a pleading once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served or, if the pleading is one to which no responsive pleading is permitted and the action has not been placed on the trial calendar, may so amend it at any time within 20 days after it is served. Otherwise a party may amend a pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party. If a party files a motion to amend a pleading, the party shall attach the proposed amended pleading to the motion. Leave of court shall be given freely when justice so requires. A party shall plead in response to an amended pleading within 1 0 days after service of the amended pleading unless the court otherwise orders.”

The Court is the judiciary where parties go to (hopefully) end their personal disputes.  The Court is the neutral ground, which makes its determination based on the allegations and evidence presented in each case.   Do not leave out critical allegations or certain requests in your initial Petition or Complaint.  If you realize you need to fix your Complaint, or if you are faced with a Motion to Dismiss, you can “ask” the Court through a “Motion for Leave of Court to Amend.”

If you do not understand your rights or what allegation you should allege, please seek the advice of an attorney who can help you with your matter.

Common Law Marriage in Florida

marriage.pSince 1968, Florida no longer permits common-law marriages.  Common-law marriages commenced prior to 1968 are fully valid in Florida.  Fla. Stat. § 741.211.  A common law-marriage does not require a ceremony nor a license.   A couple who both agree that they are married, cohabit as husband and wife, and hold themselves out to the public as married may establish a common law marriage in a jurisdiction that recognize such unions.

Is a common-law marriage that was commenced in another state valid in Florida?

Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, Florida will recognize common-law marriages that validly entered in a jurisdiction that recognizes such unions.

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I am a licensed Florida lawyer serving areas in Hendry County: Labelle, Clewiston, Pioneer, Flaghole, Montura, Hooker’s Point; areas in Glades County: Buckhead Ridge, Moore Haven, Lakeport, Palmdale, and Muse; and, areas in Lee County:  Alva, Buckingham, North Ft. Myers, Ft. Myers, and Bonita Springs.
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The hiring of a attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. Outcome or results are not guaranteed. The information presented on this website is for advertising purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. An attorney-client relationship will not be established until we have confirmed our representation of your case in writing.

Ex-partner has parental rights: Florida Supreme Court

ladyjustice.jpgMIAMI (Reuters) – By Jane Sutton

A woman who donated an egg to her lesbian partner can share parental rights to the child, the Florida Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

The 4-3 ruling directs a lower court to work out joint custody and visitation details, based on the best interests of the child, a 9-year-old girl.

“We conclude that the state would be hard pressed to find a reason why a child would not be better off having two loving parents in her life, regardless of whether those parents are of the same sex, than she would by having only one parent,” the majority opinion said.

The dissenting justices said the woman who provided the egg had signed two forms relinquishing any claim to any resulting child, and therefore is not legally her parent. They said the agreement to raise the child together “appears to have been oral” and was never formally executed, so it cannot be enforced…

…Florida does not recognize same-sex marriage or allow homosexuals to adopt. But the justices said the biological mother should have the same constitutionally protected rights as an unmarried biological father who demonstrated a commitment to raising his child by assuming parental responsibilities.

Read the full story here.

Read full Florida Supreme Court Opinion here.

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If you are having visitation issues, I can help.  239-233-0222.  Contact me, your visitation lawyer in Hendry, Glades, Lee, or Collier.

I am a licensed Florida lawyer serving areas in Hendry County: Labelle, Clewiston, Pioneer, Flaghole, Montura, Hooker’s Point; areas in Glades County: Buckhead Ridge, Moore Haven, Lakeport, Palmdale, and Muse; and, areas in Lee County:  Alva, Buckingham, North Ft. Myers, Ft. Myers, and Bonita Springs.
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The hiring of a attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. Outcome or results are not guaranteed. The information presented on this website is for advertising purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. An attorney-client relationship will not be established until we have confirmed our representation of your case in writing.